REVIEW: Marvel’s Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi #1

When Star Wars: A New Hope first introduced audiences to Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977, fans were fascinated to witness the soft-spoken Sir Alec Guinness play an archetypal old wizard who helps the hero carry his burden. While the various novels and comic books helped in fleshing out the character, it was not until actor Ewan McGregor came along to portray a young Obi-Wan that there was renewed fan interest. Disney+ has recently announced a new live-action series on the Jedi master, chronicling his lost years on Tatooine. Riding on the coattails of the hype comes a canon comic book series of the same name. Written by Christopher Cantwell with artwork from Ario Anindito and Carlos Lopez and lettering by VC's Joe Caramagna, Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 takes a look at pivotal moments in his life.

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 opens on the sands of Tatooine, with a fugitive Obi-Wan describing the arid topography of the planet and the inhospitable nature of its climate. Yet life perseveres and so does the old master, living out his days hiding from the Empire, still waiting for that one ray of hope. As he loses himself in the sands of time, his mind stretches further back to his days as an Initiate in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Gehren Rand was also a Jedi in training like him, but her nights were sleepless, plagued by nightmares of her father. In the hopes of saving her father from further agony, Gehren jumps into danger, leaving Obi-Wan to stand on the great precipice, weighing the options that could either make or break his life.

The Jedi Code forbids anyone bound to it from succumbing to attachments, but what are memories if not attachment to past feelings? Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 introduces the reader to an older Kenobi, who proceeds to depict his life of solitude and hardship on the harsh deserts of Tatooine, giving a first-person account of events both present and past. The memoir-style narrative provides deep personal images of his life and tells an enthralling tale from his past, buried like critters in the sand. Writer Christopher Cantwell laces the story with self-reflective moments, with the debut issue highlighting the Jedi-like qualities inherent in Kenobi even as a child. Standing at the crossroads, Obi-Wan now has a choice, either to fall for the attachments or stay true to his path.

Artist Ario Anindito is no stranger to the Star Wars universe, having previously worked on the Star Wars: The High Republic comic book series from Marvel Comics. From the rough and coarse aesthetic of a desert planet to the bustling cityscape with a swaying searchlight that douses the night sky, Anindito captures the familiar settings with ease and replicates them on the panels. However, his best work comes in capturing the likeness of the old Obi-Wan, Sir Alec Guinness, to the tee, invoking a sense of pure nostalgia and excitement as expected from a Star Wars book. Colorist Carlos Lopez complements Anindito's artwork with a warmer, sepia tone for the first half of the tale and shifts to cooler, blue tones to depict nightfall.

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 turns back the clock to a time in Obi-Wan's life when he was still a Jedi youngling and lets the story develop at its own pace. The narrative has drama, action, and introspection in equal measures, but there is also a glimmer of foreshadowing laced into the flashback. Eagle-eyed readers may be able to draw parallels between the events of his childhood to the affair on the planet Mustafar in his later life. While what transpired with Gehren Rand is not as extreme as what happened with Anakin Skywalker, it was still the first time Obi-Wan experienced the loss of a good friend from his life. Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 is a great first issue that promises to disclose more untold moments from the life of the Jedi Master.

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